Reviews

There Was and There Was Not

December 16, 2014

As I’ve mentioned in the past, historical subjects sometimes track me down, screaming “learn more about me, dagnabbit!” Over the last few years, the Armenian genocide *–and the controversies surrounding the existence of that genocide in modern Turkey–has been tracking me down in an on-again off-again way. I first became aware of the genocide, and […]

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Medieval People

December 2, 2014

In Medieval People: Vivid Lives in a Distant Landscape, historian Michael Prestwich [author of Knight: The Medieval Warrior’s (Unofficial) Manual] challenges generalities about the Middle Ages* by looking at the specific: biographies of 69 people who lived between 800 and 1500, a period that stretches from Charlemagne’s empire to the early Renaissance. Prestwich’s choice of […]

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Stalingrad

November 21, 2014

The Pritzker Military Library offers a smaller event alongside its On War symposium: a chance for a limited number of people to meet with the winner of the year’s lifetime achievement award to discuss one of his books.  Last year I wasn’t bright enough to sign up. This year I didn’t hesitate.  The chance to […]

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A History of America in 36 Postage Stamps: A Review and a Giveaway

November 18, 2014

In A History of Britain in 36 Postage Stamps, Chris West took the concept of micro-history to a new degree of micro, using a chronological series of postage stamps as “tiny rectangular time machines”.   In his newest work, West uses the microscopic lens of the postage stamp to examine American history. West cleverly opens A […]

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On War, the Symposium– Year 2

November 14, 2014

Last week My Own True Love and I attended the Pritzker Military Library’s second annual On War Military History Symposium.  Last year’s symposium blew me away.   Perhaps I’m a little jaded since I’ve spent a lot of the last year reading, writing, and thinking about World Wars I and II, but this year wasn’t quite […]

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Heirs to Forgotten Kingdoms

November 7, 2014

In recent weeks, Ezidis, Druze, Mandaeans and other Middle Eastern religious minorities have appeared in the world’s headlines. For the most part, these groups, unfamiliar to most Westerners, have been no more than names attached to tragedies. Gerard Russell’s Heirs to Forgotten Kingdoms: Journeys into the Disappearing Religions of the Middle East appears just in […]

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A History of New York in 101 Objects

October 7, 2014

New York Times reporter Sam Roberts makes it clear that A History of New York in 101 Objects is not the history of New York City, but his history of New York City, shaped by a 50-year career of reporting on the area. Inspired by A History of the World in 100 Objects, a joint […]

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Infidel Kings and Unholy Warriors

September 27, 2014

If you’ve spent much time here in the Margins, you know that I’m fascinated by historical boundaries: the times and places where two cultures meet (peacefully or, more often, not) and change each other. One of my favorite examples of a historical boundary is Islamic Spain, where Dar al Islam and Christendom met in exciting […]

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When Paris Went Dark

September 19, 2014

When Nazi troops marched into Paris in June, 1940, the city surrendered without firing a shot.* In When Paris Went Dark: The City of Light Under German Occupation, 1940-1944 , historian Ronald C. Rosbottom explores face-to-face interactions between occupiers and occupied, the effect of the Occupation on daily life in Paris, its psychological and emotional […]

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Two Stories In One?

September 12, 2014

Dear Readers, I’m hoping you can help. I’m in the initial stages of writing a new book proposal. Or more accurately, I’m in the initial stages of writing three book proposals springing from the same big topic in an effort to decide which one works best.* The structure of two of the proposals is straightforward, […]

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